Does a Hot Tub Need to Be Level?

If you are considering installing a hot tub in your yard, you may be concerned about where to place it. Finding a level surface is not only challenging, but it may be quite impossible if you live on a slope. Because digging out a level location can be time-consuming, you may begin asking the question, “Does a hot tub need to be level?”

The short answer to this question is yes, hot tubs need to be level. Because hot tubs may end up holding thousands of pounds, it’s essential that the weight is evenly distributed. Once filled with water, the hot tub’s wood frame and acrylic shell may crack if installed on an uneven surface.

If you’re unsure how to level your hot tub, have no worries! In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about how to level your hot tub, and why leveling your hot tub is important.

Can You Put a Hot Tub on Uneven Ground?

If you’re struggling to find a level site for your hot tub, you may be tempted to install it on uneven ground. Whether you live on a slope, or the terrain is difficult to dig, the thought of putting a hot tub on uneven ground may seem practical. However, there are a few reasons why hot tubs should not be built on a slope.

As a rule of thumb, you should only install hot tubs on level surfaces. Because hot tubs are designed to hold thousands of pounds, it’s important they are placed on even terrain to prevent cracking. Additionally, hot tubs should be put on level ground to keep the water level even.

Most hot tubs are built with a wood frame and acrylic shell. When a hot tub is placed on an uneven surface, both the frame and shell are at risk of cracking due to the surface dips. Thus, it is important that hot tubs are level to keep the weight of the water and people evenly distributed.

Another reason hot tubs should be installed on even surfaces is because of the water level. When a hot tub is uneven, the water level will also be uneven. Not only will this make soaking in the hot tub more difficult, but it may prevent the jets from being covered. As a result, certain jets may be louder than others, as they will not have enough water covering them.

If you want to create a relaxing environment, as well as increase your hot tub’s lifespan, it’s essential to install your hot tub on a level surface. If you’re unsure how to make a hot tub’s site level, read on to learn the variety of ways to install a hot tub on level ground. 

How to Level a Hot Tub

Before you begin leveling your hot tub’s location, first consider where you’d like your hot tub installed. Because hot tubs will need regular maintenance, it’s important that the hot tub is easy to reach and the equipment access panel is able to fully open. Additionally, hot tubs should be located near a water source, as well as be able to drain. Once you’ve chosen the location you’d like the hot tub installed, the next step is creating a level surface.

It is recommended not to install a hot tub on the grass or bare ground. This is because the bare ground is unable to support the weight of the hot tub. Over time, a hot tub placed on the grass or bare ground may sink, causing the hot tub to be unlevel.

Fortunately, there are many ways to install a hot tub on a level surface. From concrete slabs to shims designed for hot tubs, there is a number of options for making the hot tub’s location level. Below, we’ll take a closer look at how to make hot tubs level using these ideas.


If you want to ensure your hot tub has a solid, level foundation, consider installing it on concrete slabs. If you do not already have one, you will need to pour a new concrete slab in the location of your hot tub. Because concrete is a durable option, it is guaranteed to hold the weight of your hot tub.

Keep in mind that it is not recommended to install a hot tub directly on the concrete slab. While it is a good idea to have concrete as a foundation for your hot tub, you will likely want the hot tub to sit on a raised wooden platform. This is mainly because the ground under the concrete slab may shift, causing the entire foundation to be uneven. With a raised wooded platform, the hot tub will remain level even when the ground underneath it isn’t.

Depending on the size of your hot tub, you may want to pour the concrete slab at least 4 inches thick. Reinforced concrete will be able to support the weight of at least 115 pounds per square foot, which is ideal for larger hot tub sizes.

Make sure the concrete slab is about 6 inches larger than the hot tub on the hot tub’s three sides. For the side that the steps are on, the concrete slab should be 3 feet larger. Allow the concrete to fully cure before installing your hot tub.


One of the easiest ways to make a hot tub’s surface level is to use shims. Because it can be costly to dig out an entirely new patio foundation, shims are an excellent option for leveling hot tubs. Shims may be used on foundations made of concrete, wood, or even gravel.

Shims for hot tubs are typically made of wood, plastic, or metal. While all three types work well for leveling hot tubs, plastic and metal shims may last longer than wood shims. Because plastic and metal do not rot, you won’t have to worry about replacing the shims every few years.

The majority of hot tubs are designed with shim points. These points tell you exactly where to install shims without causing any damage to the hot tub. You may need to refer to the hot tub’s manual to determine where the shim points are located.

When shimming your hot tub, be careful where you place the shims. Shimming a hot tub incorrectly can put stress on the hot tub, resulting in cracks and major damages. Additionally, keep in mind that some hot tub brands do not recommend shimming. If your hot tub is not designed for shimming, do not attempt to use shims.


Another option for leveling a hot tub is placing it on a deck or patio. Because hot tubs can weigh up to 5,000 pounds when filled with water and people, it’s important that your deck can support the weight. If your deck is more than 2 feet off the ground, it will need additional support posts. Ideally, decks built for hot tubs should have support posts at least 30 inches apart.

Although a deck will create a level surface for your hot tub, it is still important that the ground is somewhat level. Because ground can shift, you may need to use shims for keeping your hot tub level.


If you’re looking for an inexpensive option for leveling your hot tub, consider pouring some gravel. Gravel provides a solid foundation for hot tubs of all sizes. Additionally, they provide excellent drainage for when water gets splashed or you drain the hot tub.

To prevent settling, it’s important that the ground is properly compacted before installing gravel. Once the ground is compacted, the gravel will provide a solid foundation for your hot tub to sit on. In addition to making your hot tub level, gravel will prevent the hot tub from sinking.

Hot Tub Pad

A final option for making your hot tub level is using a hot tub pad. Also known as a spa pad, hot tub pads create a solid base for your hot tub to set on. Typically made from plastic material, hot tub pads are durable and long-lasting. By placing a spa pad underneath your hot tub, you can prevent the hot tub from sinking. 

Before installing your hot tub pad, first, make sure the ground is properly leveled. It is recommended to dig out 4 inches of soil and pour down gravel before installing a hot tub pad. By pouring gravel or sand under the pad, you can be ensured the ground won’t shift under your hot tub.

A benefit to using hot tub pads is their ease of installation. Installing a hot tub pad requires minimal effort and time, unlike designing a new deck or concrete slab. Moreover, if you choose to move to a new location, or you decide to move your hot tub, a spa pad can easily be disassembled and packed with you.

Can You Put a Hot Tub on a Slope?

If you live on a slope, you may question whether or not a hot tub can be installed in your yard. After all, it is important for hot tubs to be level to prevent any stress on the hot tub’s shell. However, just because your yard has a slope doesn’t mean you have to give up on your hot tub dreams. 

In general, hot tubs can be installed on a slope. This requires creating a level surface for the hot tub to sit, that is able to support the weight of it. It is also important to keep in mind any other factors (such as water run off) that could be problematic to the hot tub.

Before we dive into the different ways to install a hot tub on a slope, it’s important for homeowners to realize the importance of a flat surface for hot tubs. When there are dips on the surface, the weight of the hot tub is not evenly distributed. Because hot tubs can weigh 5,000 pounds or more when filled with water, uneven ground can put stress on the hot tub’s frame and shell. As a result, the hot tub is prone to cracking.

To prevent damage to your hot tub, it’s essential to install it on a solid, flat foundation. Fortunately, there are many options available for installing a hot tub on a slope. Whether you have a gradual slope or a steep hill, using these ideas for installing a hot tub will prolong the lifespan of your spa.

Build a Deck

If you live on a slope, one of the best options for making a hot tub level is building a deck. As we mentioned earlier, it’s important that the deck has plenty of support. If the deck is higher than 2 feet, it will need additional support posts spaced out every 30 inches.

When building a deck on a slope, it’s important that the ground does not shift. If the ground does shift, you may need to use shims for making your hot tub level. Additionally, concrete may be used to keep the deck stable and secure for holding your hot tub.

Dig a Level Location

Because hot tubs perform best on level surfaces, you may consider digging a level location on your slope. To prevent the hot tub from sinking, consider pouring concrete or gravel to keep the hot tub’s foundation solid. Alternatively, you may use hot tub pads for keeping hot tubs level and secure.

Because the ground may shift, you may consider installing a retaining wall on the high or low end of the slope. A retaining wall will keep the soil in place, preventing the hot tub from becoming uneven or damaged.

Consider an Inground Hot Tub

Depending on how much your property slopes, you may consider installing an inground hot tub. Although inground hot tubs may sound difficult to install, the installation process is fairly easy.

To install an inground hot tub, simply mark the area you’d like to build the hot tub. From here, add on an additional 30 inches, and begin digging the hole. It’s important that there is enough room to work with the wiring and pipes.

Once the hole is dug, pour some concrete and allow it to set. Next, use trenching tools to make conduits for the wires and plumbing. Because the pipes must be in line with the base of the pit once installed, it’s important to make the trenches deep enough.

The next step is installing the hot tub. You may need professional help to connect the pipes and wires of the hot tub. Once the plumbing is connected, your hot tub is ready to use. Decking may be added to boost the hot tub’s appearance if desired.

Jed Arnold

Jed spent every year from the ages of 15 - 22 as a Lifeguard (Red Cross) and ages of 17 - 22 as a Certified Pool Operator (CPO). Between working for over a dozen facilities and owning a pool, he carries over a decade of pool experience.

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